Friday, February 15, 2008

Memory Lane - My Favorite Valentine's Day


3rd Grade. 1974. I was in Mrs. Virginia Neilsen's class (she was in my ward at church) and I was teacher's pet, because I was quiet (always daydreaming), sweet, and smart. My best friend was Serena Pennington. I had a crush on Danny Arrendondo (he had dimples, curly hair, and had kissed me on the cheek during a movie in 1st grade, and I was still hoping for a repeat).

On Valentine's Day I took my brown paper grocery bag of Valentines and my plate of homemade sugar cookies (hearts with pink frosting, no sprinkles) to pass out at the party, and innocently made my way across the street to Hudson Elementary School. Little knowing that it would be a day of romance, unequaled in the 33 years since.

In the 3rd grade there were 4 classes. Since it was the 7o's our classes were arranged in "Pods" where all 4 Third grade classes were open to each other and separated by book shelves, but we would meet in the middle after lunch to have a joint read-aloud book, etc. One of my best friends was Denise Vargas (cousin of Ralph Chandos, bane of my existence - who called me Jones Bones in Kindergarten, cut himself on my gold bracelet while trying to pry it off my arm later that year, and broke his lunch sack over my head in first grade). Of course, we only gave Valentine's to the kids in our own class. So as we opened our cards, I was surprised that Denise had given me two! Then I noticed that one was signed, not Denise, but Dennis. I asked her if it was from her (spelling error?) But no, she had no knowledge of the extra valentine that was placed in my decorated kleenex box. There was no Dennis in Mrs. Neilsen's class. Soon the girls were a-buzz with the mystery of my secret admirer. We decided it must be from Dennis, in another class! Unheard of event at Hudson Elementary School! What a brazen boy to venture past the invisible classroom dividing line to secretly place a valentine in my box!?!


I sent Denise and Serena to confront him on it. Did he put a Valentine card in Janie Jones' box? Yep. He did. And what's more....he wanted me to meet him outside the classroom after school. In those precious stolen moments outside the classroom, he asked me if he could come to my house, and if I would listen for "our song" on my transistor radio - "Don't go changin' to try and please me, I like you just the way you are". Walking on air, I raced home to tell my Mom that I was expecting a gentleman caller. I'm sure I said something like, "A boy named Dennis who is not in my class put a Valentine in my box and I thought it was from Denise but she spells her name D-e-n-i-s-e and it was spelled D-e-n-n-i-s and he is going to come over to our house to see me."


He actually came over. His purpose - He was going to become a Magician, and he wanted me to be his Magician's Assistant! The highest compliment that I could think of! How beautiful I must have been (I thought), for him, Dennis, to actually want ME, to be his Magician's Assistant!?! I could just picture myself in pumps and black fishnet stockings, a satin-y red out fit and maybe with elbow length gloves, holding his top hat while he pulled a rabbit out of it. When he left, after about a half hour of planning, I rushed in to tell my Mom about my new career, and the details about my ambitious admirer.


That was the end of the romance. He planned to come back when he knew more magic so we could practice, but he may have changed career paths or something. We went our own separate ways after our brief encounter. I still think of him when I hear "Our Song". But still, an unparalelled Valentine's Day! Nothing like having a secret admirer, I can tell you.

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